Defected Syrian PM Hijab visited Istanbul

Defected Syrian PM Hijab visited Istanbul

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Defected Syrian PM Hijab visited Istanbul

Hijab (C) has referred to Bashar al-Assad’s regime as an ‘enemy of God.’

The most senior civilian politician to defect since the beginning of the Syrian uprising visited Turkey two weeks ago.

Riyad Hijab, the former Syrian prime minister who defected from Bashar al-Assad’s government, met with Syrian opposition members and Turkish officials in Istanbul, Fevzi Zakiroğlu, a member of the Syrian National Council (SNC) told Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Hijab, who is said to have fled with his family, defected from al-Assad’s government in early August to join “the revolution” two months after he was appointed to the Prime Ministry. The former prime minister is claimed to head an alternative front to the SNC, which was discussed at meetings of the Syrian opposition last week in Jordan.

Ankara awaits last call for Cairo meeting

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is prepared to participate in a ministerial meeting about Syria on Sept. 17, which is the result of an Egyptian initiative, but Egypt has not finalized its plans, due to a lack of clarity on some issues, such as the participation of Iraq and Venezuela, diplomatic sources said.

Iran wanted to expand the initiative to include its allies Iraq and Venezuela, but Saudi Arabia and Egypt objected to the proposal. In an apparent bid to bolster Iran’s pro-Syrian President Bashar al-Assad position in the group, Tehran asked that Iraq, as the current head of the Arab League, and Venezuela, as part of the Non-Aligned Movement troika be allowed to join.

The first preparatory meeting of the initiative has already been held with the participation of ambassadors from main actors in the Middle East, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran.